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Field School Announcement
2013 Ifugao Archaeological Field School
Sponsor: University of Guam
Contact Information
Stephen Acabado
UOG Station
University of Guam
Mangilao GU 96923 USA
Phone: 671-735-2809
Student-participants will be directly involved in the Ifugao Archaeological Project: The Ifugao Rice Terraces (IRT) landscape in the highland Cordillera, Northern Philippines provides anthropologists with excellent opportunity to understand human-environment interaction. However, the IRT’s past is still uncertain, owing to a dearth of archaeological studies in the region. Models on the origins of the agricultural technology revolves around either a ‘long history’ or the revisionist ‘short history’ models, where the former looks at a 2,000-3,000-year inception of the terraces, while the former suggests a European-colonialism influenced beginnings. The Ifugao Archaeological Project’s (IAP) recent studies however, suggest a climate-change related subsistence shift in the highlands of the Philippine Cordillera. Results of radiocarbon determinations and palynological analyses suggest a shift from taro-based production to wet-rice cultivation at ca. AD 1300, coinciding with the Little Ice Age that would have made the lowland northern Philippines drier. Agricultural systems have been one of the focal points of archaeological studies concerning the development of cultural complexity. The relationship of agricultural features to social organization has been almost exclusively linked to each phenomenon. The co-occurrence of complex farming techniques with elaborate architecture and exotic material remains is the standard against which archaeologists measure cultural complexity and dependency on agricultural production. This interest offers two important contributions to the archaeology of complexity: the first is the identification of a variety of agricultural features, including rock-bordered grid complexes, terraces, dams, floodplain field locations, reservoirs, and irrigation canals. The second contribution has been the recognition that some of these technologies were highly labor intensive and others were land extensive. This project will use the cultural landscape of the Ifugao as a case study; it will also establish baseline data for GIS that will be useful for conservation projects in the rice terraces of northern Philippines. The Ifugaos are located in the Central Cordillera highlands of Northern Philippines, in the province of Ifugao. They have significantly modified their landscape through farming activities; terraces and irrigation canals dominate their landscape. The complex agricultural features and techniques in the region suggest highly labor-intensive process. However, Ifugao society does not show the complexity usually correlated with such agricultural features. This project aims to understand this relationship using GIS as a tool to understand environmental constraints that hamper the development of a more complex political system in the region. Corollary to this interest are the goals of dating the rice terraces, developing a model of growth centers through GIS-modeling, effects of assessing effect of European colonialism to political and economic patterns, and establishing a GIS database which could help improve conservation and heritage management programs in the region. Investigations in Ifugao are a continuation collaborative research program between the PI and the community. A research strategy that includes the use of GIS technology, ethnographic interviews, geoarchaeology, palynology, and faunal analyses has been successfully applied in the region. The project will expand the current GIS database that should aid in developing a settlement growth model. This work also entails documenting the composite agricultural system of the Ifugao.
Keywords: Ifugao | Philippines | Rice Terraces
This announcement will be displayed until: 02/20/2013
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